Orna Naor: street photographer of Israel

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Successful photographers are the idols of new photography enthusiasts. Their life, their interests, their vision, their works and their achievements are looked at with admiration, mixed with inspiration and envy. It is always interesting to listen to their life instances, their techniques and situations that led them to photography. With this goal in mind, we started this function where we interview the talented and famous photographers from around the world. Each interview will be a fascinating personal story of the photographer, eager to share his passion, suggestions and advice on how to succeed in the field.
 
We proudly present Orna Naor, a famous street photographer and reportage from Tel Aviv, Israel, whose images represent a strong and powerful character of her characters. Orna is equally at home with urban street captures as much as with the narrative moments of his travels across the world. In this personal interview, he talks about his passion for studying human models meticulously and shows through his photographs the life situations of people from all walks of life, including his father and mother-in-law. His works have been widely published in various Street Photography magazines and books and exhibited in brick and mortar galleries around the world. Here are the excerpts from his recent interview with our correspondent:

 

 Quick Round Questions:
First camera Canon D 7000
Have you developed photos? No
What camera do you use now? Fujifilm X-T2
What lens did you use? 10-24 mm, 18 mm, 23 mm, 56 mm
Did you reintroduce yourself? Yup
Which program do you use? Photoshop
Do you take photography courses? Yup
Do you take courses online? No

How did you approach photography?

5 years ago, when my father was getting old, I needed something to “charge” emotionally in those moments of suffering. I asked a friend about using his camera for 2 days, I liked it and I started learning. After the first street lesson, I realized I had found myself.
 
What is your favorite genre?
Obviously, I define myself mainly as a street photographer.
 
How did Street Photography work your way?
I think I’ve always found challenging, intelligent and very creative street photography. It gave me the opportunity to express and create. The things I needed, I guess.
 
What was your first camera?
Nikon D7000
 
How did you learn the technique? How many photographers did you start with an analog?
I attended lessons at a photography school in Alon Kira. I started directly with digital photography and I have no exposure to analog.
 
For you, your passion comes first or the profession?
Well, I was teaching at the photography school of Alon Kira, but after a while I gave up because not everyone was in street photography. And I needed passionate participants. However, since then I have made photography my full-time job. For me there was not a distinctive line to draw between my passion and my profession.
 
Is photography a rewarding profession for you?
Right now I have an exhibition in Israel and I sell some. But actually making a living with photography is not really possible; almost everyone has another job. But yes, this continues to be my profession. My rewards may not always be in terms of money, but they will certainly keep me active.
 
Do you move with ease on the road with a camera? How do you approach people to become your subject? 
I’m trying to walk on the line between eye contact and no eye contact. When I want a glance mostly a suggestion is enough to know if anyone agrees or not. I usually smile and rarely have difficulty. Sometimes when I get a nice affirmative nod, it can be an intensely fragrant moment to turn into a lasting capture.
 
What were your most difficult shots and what gratified you most?
The most difficult things I did was to document the last years of my father and mother-in-law. The most rewarding is my series on Palestinian Bedouin children who arrive for the first time on the beach in their lives.
 
Your photographs describe the world you live in, its people and their lives. I find this fascinating, but does not it embarrass you to enter into the life of your subjects?
This is exactly what excites me. I look for their non-verbal consent, that is. The few moments that we spend “together” are quite powerful. Whether in China, India, Cuba, Guatemala or Israel, I have experienced that your non-intimidating approach can make people tell their stories without even saying a word; just allowing me to enter their world, participate and take their pictures.
 
Can you throw a little more light on your work and your achievements? 
Some of the exhibitions in which my work has been exhibited and appreciated are:
Exhibition Local testimony, the exhibition of Israeli photojournalism 2016; my personal show in Cuba; Out the Line Gallery, Chicago; Exhibition of Local Testimonials; the exhibition of Israeli photojournalism 2017; Eye Contact, personal exhibition, Art & About gallery, Israel. In addition to the many most admired publications is magazine # 39, # 27, # 30, # 18, # 16, # 14, # 10.
 
Some goals for the future?
Continue to try to make a difference in people’s vision of their surroundings and restore humanity in this stereotypical and indifferent world in my humble way.
 
Is there a social orientation in your work? 
Some of my projects are social and with a purpose for change.
Others are just creative, humanistic, humorous, less social. So I think I can not define or give a title to my work.
 
Finally, would you like to have your opinion that smartphones can really make everyone a photographer?
I have a clear vision of what painting and brushes have existed for many years but that does not make all painters; in the same way, the fact that everyone has access to smartphones will not make them photographers. There is always the heart and the artist’s eye behind the instrument, and this is what makes the difference.
 
Thank you for your candid answers, Orna. We are sure that they will be useful to many of your admirers.

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